The FBHVC monthly report

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The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs represents our interests nationally, fighting for those who enjoy using their Classic Cars.

Robin Astle, our Club's FBHVC representative gives a monthly report on what's going on.

Robin Astle

November 2019

by Robin Astle.

From FBHVC Newsletter 2019 No. 4

Legislation & Fuels by Bob Owen

Roadworthiness Testing

Last time around I mentioned that official guidance requires a declaration to be made that a vehicle is not substantially modified and thus does not require an MOT certificate at the time of relicensing, but that under the online process keepers simply can’t make a declaration for pre 1960 vehicles. I also said we were writing to the DVLA about this.

I have now received a response which essentially says that’s the way it is until they fix the system. There is no apology for the confusion this causes, presumably because DVLA sees no need to say sorry to vehicle owners adversely affected by its inaction. Nor have they offered to amend the inaccurate Guidance.

It does say again what we knew, that exemption is not dependent upon declaration. If your vehicle is entitled to be MOT exempt, it is automatically so. And if you are not presented with the requirement to declare, registration will complete without an MOT.

So, it does confirm what I said last time. Do not worry. You do not have to declare to be exempt.


Following our meeting with DVLA we wrote to them on a number of outstanding issues.

I have commented on the roadworthiness testing in the preceding paragraphs.

There is one area where we have good news. DVLA have found a way to be consistent with what their Press Office said rather than their letter of a couple of years ago. If a vehicle carrying a Q Plate (which has not acquired it because of changes to its configuration) can produce evidence as to its true identity and date of manufacture, DVLA will allocate an age related, or as the case may be, the original registration, to the vehicle.

Ian in his section deals with in more detail with this subject and the others.

But I am bound to sign off by saying with a heavy heart that for the first time in my experience of dealing with them, I am seeing what amounts to an organisational bias within DVLA against historic vehicles.

DVLA by Ian Edmunds

The current attitude of DVLA is, to say the least, unhelpful. In the last edition I outlined various topics discussed in our liaison meeting with DVLA and indicated that in many cases the outcome was inconclusive. Follow up letters have been sent on individual questions but unfortunately whilst replies have been received to some of these queries, they have not in general served to progress the situation.

We requested further information on why one particular CKD vehicle had been registered when it did not appear to directly meet their stated requirements in terms of evidence of date of final assembly. The DVLA reply refers to a large amount of supporting evidence but suggests that the same approach is unlikely to be applied again.

Two specific examples of registration applications for vehicles where the date of manufacture is marked directly on the vehicle were sent to DVLA, pointing out that one had been accepted and the other rejected. It was agreed with DVLA in the meeting that to avoid any risk of problems for the keeper of the accepted vehicle we would redact all the identifying detail. The latest response from DVLA effectively says that without that detail they cannot comment but that if the details are supplied and the registration found to have been issued in error it will be withdrawn! Obviously, we cannot take that risk.

Following reports from clubs and indeed a statement sent to me by DVLA we queried the status of copy documents. In the meeting DVLA promised to supply a list of which supporting documents for registration applications had to be original and which could be copies. This has been received and on the face of it confirms my long-standing understanding. However, on one particular point the statement is to my mind ambiguous so I have requested further clarification. At the time of writing this has not been received.

I am very aware that a number of correspondents have outstanding queries with me involving one or more of the above topics. I will try to update them individually but to them and others – please believe me; lack of obvious progress does not indicate inactivity. We are addressing, and will continue to address, all valid issues brought to our attention. Meanwhile my head is quite sore from repeated contact with a certain Welsh wall!

Not quite all is doom and gloom, however. There is one item of clearly good news which I have deliberately left until last. That way I hope you can finish reading this with a less heavy heart than I have writing it! In the last edition I reported on four sample cases of Q registered vehicles that the Federation had presented to DVLA for consideration for conversion to normal age-related registrations. In the meeting DVLA intimated that all four met their conditions and that suitable applications from their respective keepers would be considered. Those who attended Club Expo may remember some discussion about an imported Mercedes Benz which had also been featured in the classic press. We now know that it has been issued with an age-related registration. At the time of writing we have no news of the others although I believe applications are in progress.

One of our four samples is in fact a V765 application as a V5C has come to light since the vehicle was purchased and registered by its current owner. That can be treated in the same way as any other V765 application. For age-related registrations the DVLA requirements are slightly more stringent than normal as DVLA require evidence that the vehicle has not been seriously altered from its original specification. This is achieved by additional photographs. An initial request to DVLA to re-register a Q-plated vehicle will produce a standard response which includes a list of the requirements.

I must stress that this procedure is not applicable to every Q-plated registration. In some cases, the Q was originally allocated because the vehicle was modified or because there was some clear inconsistency in its history. Generally, these cannot be changed. The new procedure is intended mainly for vehicles where there was insufficient information, or even interest, to provide adequate dating evidence when they were first registered but the information is now available.

Research by Paul Chasney

Cost of Ownership Survey 2019

On 14 May 2019 the Federation launched the results of our 2019 National Cost of Ownership Survey at a special meeting held at the Palace of Westminster, hosted by the Right Honourable Sir Greg Knight MP, Chairman of the All Parties Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group and enthusiastic supporter of the Federation. Lord Steel, our President, along with another 15 Peers and Members of Parliament were in attendance.

The survey took place in late 2018 and early 2019 and followed a similar methodology to that we used in the National Historic Vehicle Survey carried out in 2016. We completed a national omnibus survey examining both the behaviours and attitudes of the adult population and completed our work with a detailed enthusiast survey examining specific costs of ownership.

The results of the Survey were both encouraging, but in some cases concerning, for those of us who are interested in Historic Vehicles of whatever type. There is no doubt that public enthusiasm for and interest in, the historic vehicle sector continues to be very strong, but changes are taking place that will affect us all.

A particular focus of the national omnibus element of the Survey was the attitudes and behaviours of different age groups. What this has shown is that whilst overall there continues to be enormous support for the historic vehicle movement at large, enthusiasm amongst younger people is not so strong. The survey clearly suggests that younger people do not readily identify with the heritage issues understood by older generations.

For example, there continues to be enthusiasm at large for seeing vehicles and owning vehicles but younger generations are far less sympathetic to historic vehicles being exempt from modern emissions and safety requirements. This is a particular concern for the future given that it is not possible for many historic vehicles to meet these modern standards.

The survey results demonstrate a clear need for all of us who are involved in the movement to engage with younger people and explain the importance of the heritage aspects of historic vehicles. All too soon these younger generations will be the legislators of tomorrow and without a clear understanding of the importance of ‘heritage vehicles’ our ability to use and enjoy these vehicles might be severely restricted.

And what does it cost to own a historic vehicle?

Based on our survey group, the average cost per vehicle is £1,489 and the average cost of fuel is less than £250 per year. This does not include the costs of major restoration or repair work, but it does show that day to day ownership of a historic vehicle is open to a large proportion of the population. Further detail of the elements that comprise these costs is presented in the survey summary.

The full summary of the Survey can be downloaded from the Federation’s website at We hope you enjoy reading and reflecting on these results. The Federation’s next major survey will be published in 2021 when we will be encouraging participation from everyone who is interested in the historic vehicle movement.



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